In addition to the public affairs major, undergraduate students must complete up to 69 hours of university approved General Education (GE) courses. The GE allows students to develop the fundamental skills essential to collegiate success across major programs. The GE is divided into a number of categories including writing and communication skills, quantitative skills, foreign language, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Coursework options for satisfying GE requirements come from a variety of academic areas of study, allowing students to tailor the GE toward their unique academic, policy and career interests. Transfer or exam (AP/IB) credit may be used to fulfill GE requirements. Contact your advisor for more information.

Writing and Related Skills

Writing and Related Skills coursework helps you develop skills in written communication and expression, reading, critical thinking and oral expression.

  • First Course: English 1110.01, 1110.02, 1110.03 or equivalent during freshman year
  • Select ONE second writing course from approved list during sophomore year


Quantitative and Logical Skills coursework helps develop your quantitative literacy and logical reasoning--including the ability to identify valid arguments, use mathematical models, draw conclusions and critically evaluate results based on quantitative data.

  • Course selection options depend on a student’s math placement level and academic goals--See your advisor for more information
  • A statistics or data analysis course is also required

Foreign Language

Foreign Language coursework cultivates your skills in communication across ethnic, cultural, ideological and national boundaries. It also helps you develop an understanding of other cultures and patterns of thought.

  • Coursework or proficiency through the third semester (1103) of a single foreign language

Natural Science

Natural Science coursework fosters your understanding of the principles, theories and methods of modern science; relationships between science and technology; implications of scientific discoveries and the potential of science and technology has to address problems of the contemporary world.

  • Select three courses, representing both biological and physical sciences — one course, out of the three courses, must have a lab component

Social Science

Social Science coursework focuses on the study of human behavior and cognition; the structure of human society, and the processes by which individuals and groups interact, communicate, and use resources.

  • Economics 2001.01 (Introduction to Microeconomics) is a prerequisite for several courses in the major core and therefore should be taken as a Social Science GE.
  • The second course can be any course from the approved social science list.

Arts and Humanities

Coursework within Arts and Humanities involves evaluating significant writing and works of art. These studies develop capacities for aesthetic and historical response and judgment; interpretation and evaluation; critical listening, reading, seeing, thinking and writing; while experiencing the arts and reflecting on that experience.

  • • Students must take at least one course in History, one course in Literature, one course in Visual & Performing Arts the fourth course is chosen from either the History or Cultures & Ideas categories.

Open Options

Two required courses — student’s choice.

  • Open Options may be selected from other Gen Ed course options, service-learning courses, cross-disciplinary seminars and/or study abroad experiences.

Global Studies

Courses in Global Studies help you become an educated, productive and principled citizen of your nation and the world. You can overlap Global Studies courses within another Gen Ed category. If you do not overlap Global Studies courses with another Gen Ed category, the Global Studies requirement must still be fulfilled.

For a complete description of the Public Affairs General Education curriculum and full list of course options, click here.
For more questions about the GE, please see your advisor.

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